MORE HELMET ADAPTATIONS:
The overwhelmingly positive response to the May 2, 2009 ASK DR. DEL RYE column and our presentation of some of the helmet adaptations seen on NFL fields through the years, has brought requests for a few more. Please enjoy the ingenuity demonstrated by a number of the game’s best players.
The great Raymond Berry of the Baltimore Colts is of course wearing the iconic Colts TK helmet from their championship era of the late 1950’s. Close observation will note the presence of additional snap stud for his customized protective goggles. Fastidious in every aspect of his preparation, it is interesting that the studs are present on both the 1950’s Riddell helmet Berry is wearing in the black and white photo (and if in color, the cow catcher mask would no doubt be brown) and also in the color photo from the 1960’s. His special “non-slip” custom chinstrap shroud made his helmet more comfortable, thus allowing full focus upon his job of receiving the football from Johnny U.
The Los Angeles Rams’ Les Josephson was consistently underrated during a solid eleven year career. Used to overcoming the odds that were stacked against him, Josephson became an outstanding collegiate football player despite participating only in Eight Man Football at his small Minnesota high school. At Augustana College in South Dakota, he was again a reliable player with all-around skills, but largely ignored due to the anonymity of his small college. Still he was invited to the Dallas Cowboys’ 1964 training camp as an undrafted free agent and picked up by the Rams after being released late in camp by Dallas. Josephson was a mainstay in the Roman Garbriel led offense of the Rams and was named to the 1968 Pro Bowl squad. He also overcame a broken jaw, playing with a customized steel jaw brace that was padded with foam and a vinyl covering.
Another broken jaw, this one suffered by Pro Football Hall Of Fame offensive lineman and long time television broadcaster Dan Dierdorf, is protected by a custom-made Schutt face mask designed especially for this purpose.
The many helmets of “Little” Joe Washington have been featured previously at HELMET HUT and a number of them have differed from those worn by his teammates [ http://www.helmethut.com/Redskins/JoeWashington.html ] including the “tucked feather” decal of his beautiful Washington Redskins headgear. Joe, always careful to have his uniform fit to his exacting requirements, demonstrates yet another helmet adaptation in this photo, demonstrating a two bar mask that is placed exactly one-half-inch anterior or forward of what would be its normal position.
Certainly one of the best collegiate and professional players of his era, the Oakland Raiders Fred Biletnikoff was considered to be “innovative” in developing moves to separate himself from defenders in order to become an open target for his quarterbacks. Lacking size and speed, his clutch receptions resulted from his acute awareness and attention to detail. Seeking to protect a broken nose, Fred B. chose a mask not often used by receivers, in fact not often used by anyone. This prototype was one of the the light weight stainless steel Dungard Supermasks. We know that broken nose was not comfortable, but it sure isn't comfortable for us to see Fred in anything other than a Riddell one bar.
Another Dungard variation of the Supermask